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#pounditThursday, October 6, 2022

College Football

1 successful college coach would ‘crawl’ to get Wisconsin job?

Jul 22, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; N.C. State Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren speaks to the media during the ACC Kickoff at The Westin Charlotte. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin made a bold move over the weekend when they decided to fire Paul Chryst despite the coach being largely successful throughout his run as head coach of the football team. The question now becomes who will be the replacement coach.

Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard is the interim coach, and the belief has been that Wisconsin wants to give their former safety a shot at winning the job. But if Leonhard fails to impress for whatever reason, there might be another coach of note with eyes on the job.

Pete Thamel said on ESPN’s “College GameDay” podcast episode that was released on Monday that NC State coach Dave Doeren would want the job.

“My hunch is Dave Doeren would crawl there. He has Midwest ties. There’s some risk with Leonhard, there aren’t a whole lot of certainties once you go past that,” Thamel said on the podcast, via 247 Sports.

Doeren is a Shawnee, Kansas native. He played college ball at Drake in Iowa, coached throughout the midwest, and he was an assistant at Wisconsin from 2006-2010. Prior to NC State, he went 23-4 in two seasons at Northern Illinois. Doeren has gone 68-50 at NC State with three 9-win seasons.

The ceiling to win at Wisconsin is higher than it is at NC State, which has only had one double-digit win season in program history (in 2002 with Philip Rivers at quarterback).

If things don’t work out with Leonhard, Doeren would be a really strong hire if Wisconsin were able to land him.

Mike Leach has radical solution to fix NIL issues

Oct 2, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach argues a call while playing against the Texas A&M Aggies in the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leach is known for being a bold thinker, both as a coach and as a personality. It’s no surprise then that the Mississippi State coach has a bold plan for how to address the current mess facing college football due to new transfer and Name, Image and Likeness rules.

Leach spoke with SI’s Ross Dellenger about his solution. He thinks the sport needs to differentiate between amateur and professional college athletes. He thinks players should choose which categorization they want, and they will be treated under different rules.

“This should not be a masquerade party of professionals. Are you a professional or are you not?” Leach told Ross Dellenger of SI. “Instead of sitting here and having 17-year-olds lecture everybody that they are professionals, well, let them be professionals. It’s one [amateur] or the other [professional]. Right now, we’ve got this whole mysterious stratosphere of people wiggling all over back and forth.”

For players who categorize themselves as pros, Leach is proposing systems similar to those used by the NFL. That means a player draft, salary cap, trades, and free agency. For those who are amateurs, they can choose where they want to go to school, and they would be eligible to receive a $100,000 bonus upon graduating from the school where they originally signed. These amateurs could transfer, but they would forfeit the bonus.

Both groups of players would have to attend school.

Leach’s proposal is nothing if not creative. A lot of other coaches are forecasting some sort of breakaway division as a result of the changes to the sport. Leach is proposing a solution that would allow both an amateur and professional model.

Tulane pokes fun at Aaron Judge with uniform reveal

Jul 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) goes to the dugout between innings against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Tulane Green Wave had a pretty hilarious way of revealing their uniforms for this week’s game.

Tulane poked fun at the recent coverage of Aaron Judge’s chase for the American League home run record in a video posted to social media Wednesday. ESPN has spent the last two weekends interrupting college football telecasts whenever Judge stepped to the plate, and Tulane had some fun with that.

At least Tulane used footage of Judge’s 62nd home run in their video. The New York Yankees star did not do nearly as well during the actual cut-ins in each of the last two Saturdays.

ESPN’s decision to show Judge’s plate appearances at the expense of its college football telecasts was met with widespread derision, and some of the network’s own talent seemed displeased with it. Fortunately, Judge hit his milestone home run on Tuesday, and the regular season ends Wednesday anyway, so college games should air without interruption on Saturday.

Details on Paul Chryst’s buyout from Wisconsin revealed

Paul Chryst was fired by Wisconsin on Sunday, a day after his Badgers lost badly at home to Illinois 34-10. Chryst’s firing comes less than a year after he received a 5-year contract extension in January.

Chryst’s buyout was supposed to be $19.5 million. According to The Athletic’s Matt Fortuna, Chryst agreed to a reduced buyout of $11 million.

Though that’s only 56 percent of his full buyout amount, it’s still quite a hefty sum.

Chryst’s Badgers played well below expectations this season. They lost at home to Washington State 17-14 in their second game. They got blitzed badly by Ohio State in their fourth game. And then they got embarrassed at home by Illinois on Saturday to drop to 2-3.

Chryst was in his eighth season at Wisconsin after three years at Pitt. He was 67-26 as the school’s head football coach, including a 6-1 record in bowl games.

Jimbo Fisher addresses relationship with Nick Saban

Jul 16, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher addresses the media and answers questions during SEC football media day at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The public feud between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher became the biggest story of the offseason in college football, and we are going to hear plenty about it heading into Saturday night’s game between Alabama and Texas A&M. What we should not expect is either coach to fuel the narrative.

Fisher on Monday was asked where his relationship with Saban stands. He said both coaches have “moved on” from whatever issues they had months ago.

“That’s over with,” Fisher said, per Tyler Shaw of KBTX 3. “He and I are in great shape and we’ve moved on.”

While speaking at a dinner party in Birmingham, Ala., back in May, Saban was critical of the way some programs have been violating Name, Image and Likeness rules. He singled out Texas A&M and said they “bought every player on their team.” Fisher responded by unloading on his former boss for being a “narcissist.” Fisher indicated at the time that he wants nothing to do with Saban anymore.

Fisher also spoke on Monday about how much he learned while working as an assistant under Saban.

“I’ve been around some successful people, so you learn a lot of things,” he said. “Nick’s just a tremendous coach, arguably people would say he’s one of the best ever or the best ever. That could very well be.”

That was not the first time Fisher backed down from his harsh comments about Saban.

Texas A&M is coming off a disappointing loss to Mississippi State. Alabama quarterback Bryce Young may not be able to play on Saturday because of a shoulder injury. You can understand why both Fisher and Saban want their players focusing all their attention on the task at hand.

Nick Saban brings back ‘rat poison’ ahead of Texas A&M game

Sep 11, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama coach Nick Saban was in an animated mood Monday as he discussed Bryce Young’s injury and the Crimson Tide’s upcoming game against Texas A&M.

Young’s injury was a major topic of conversation Monday at Saban’s press conference. Reporters sought clarity on the quarterback’s status ahead of next Saturday’s game.

The Alabama coach turned the topic to “rat poison” from the media, telling reporters to “make up whatever you want” relating to what Alabama’s offense might look like without Young.

For the uninitiated, Saban has long used the phrase “rat poison” to essentially represent media chatter that poses a distraction to his players or makes them complacent. The Alabama coach has brought up the phrase often, including before the season even started. In this instance, he does not want questions about Young’s status to prove distracting, or give his players an excuse for a poor performance.

Young, by the way, is still characterized as day-to-day after leaving Saturday’s game at Arkansas. Saban is going to keep everyone guessing on that one despite the speculation it will cause.

Mike Leach gave reporter some wedding advice

Mike Leach is known for having no filter, and one college football reporter decided to take advantage of that quality by seeking some advice from the Mississippi State coach on Saturday.

Alyssa Lang of SEC Network interviewed Leach on the field following Mississippi State’s big 42-24 win over Texas A&M. Lang informed the zany coach that she is in the process of planning a wedding with her husband, Trevor. She asked if Leach has any advice, and he basically told her to stop planning.

“Whatever you and Trevor decide, I would kind of keep it on the down low, which you’ve failed to do that,” Leach said. “Trevor was probably planning to, but you didn’t. Don’t say anything about it, but as soon as the season’s over, or even an off-week, go elope. Trust me on that. Go elope, because basically every female in the family is gonna terrorize you guys until it’s over. Once it’s over, they’ll be upset for a few days, but it’ll be over and you cruise along and have a happy marriage and a happy life.”

You can see the funny exchange below:

Leach’s advice was not all that surprising. Keep in mind he has three daughters, so he speaks from experience. This is not the first time Leach has shared his hilarious thoughts on wedding planning.

Jimbo Fisher on the hot seat at Texas A&M?

Jul 16, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher addresses the media and answers questions during SEC football media day at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M was ranked as one of the top teams in the country before the 2022 season began, but they have officially dropped out of the AP Top 25 following their latest loss. If the Aggies continue to fall short of expectations, Jimbo Fisher may find himself looking for a new job.

Paul Finebaum told ESPN colleague Matt Barrie on Sunday that Fisher’s massive buyout does not necessarily give the coach job security. Fisher would be owed more than $90 million if fired without cause. Finebaum said he spoke with some high-ranking Texas A&M officials at a dinner last week and was led to believe the buyout is not a major issue.

“They’ve got a lot of issues. The buyout is about $90 million,” Finebaum said. “I spoke at a dinner a week ago in Dallas the night before the Arkansas game, and these are the top A&M people including the president … these guys don’t fool around. You know Texas. A $90 million buyout? That doesn’t faze these guys.

“They’re embarrassed right now. They’ve lost to Mississippi State for the second year in a row. There’s no telling what the score’s gonna be like Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.”

Texas A&M was dominated by Mississippi State on Saturday in a 42-24 game that never felt close. The Aggies have fallen to 3-2 on the season, with their previous loss coming at home against Appalachian State.

Fisher secured the No. 1 recruiting class in the country this past year, so one line of thinking is that he needs a year or two for that to play out. Texas A&M boosters could save a lot of money if they are patient with the 56-year-old coach, but it sounds like the results need to be a lot better the rest of the way.

Fisher seems to think Texas A&M has a problem that is easily fixable. Unfortunately for him, he has to try to make that fix on the road against No. 1-ranked Alabama.

Wisconsin RB sends strong message about Paul Chryst firing

Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen sent a strong message on Sunday regarding the Paul Chryst firing.

Wisconsin fired Chryst a day after the Badgers lost at home to Illinois 34-10. Allen is the team’s star running back and had just 8 yards on 2 carries in the defeat.

“Anyone who wanted Coach Chryst gone isn’t a part of this team,” Allen wrote on Twitter hours after the news of the firing came out.

That is a pretty strong message of support for the fired head coach.

Allen, a sophomore, has 499 yards and 6 touchdowns this season. Now he will be performing under interim head coach Jim Leonhard.

The message from Allen shows just how much the players seemed to like Chryst and believe in him. And why wouldn’t they? Chryst was 67-26 in his time at Wisconsin and 6-1 in bowl games. The Badgers played in the Rose Bowl under him as recently as 2019. Sure, they couldn’t rise to the level of being a CFP team, they did a lot of winning under Chryst.

Paul Chryst fired as Wisconsin head coach

The Wisconsin Badgers have made a major coaching change after a disappointing start to the 2022 season.

The Badgers fired head coach Paul Chryst on Sunday, according to multiple reports. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard will take over as the interim head coach.

The Badgers will owe Chryst $16.4 million if he is fired without cause, making this a very costly firing on Wisconsin’s part.

Chryst had been the coach at Wisconsin since 2015, and few would have put him on the hot seat prior to the season. He posted a 67-26 record at the school, but a 2-3 start to the 2022 season simply was not acceptable from the school’s point of view.

The Wisconsin job should attract some high-profile names, depending on how the school handles the search. Leonhard, who has been linked to high-profile NFL jobs, could be a candidate to get the gig full-time as well.